Faculty Senate Meeting - Senate Meeting Minutes: May 11, 2005
Meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to all members of the University community, but may be closed at the discretion of the Senate.
Meeting time 10:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. in the Founder's Room of Lovett Hall
I. Current Business
• Adoption of rules of order (Robert's Rules of Order) and election of new Senate Speaker
• Appointment of Parliamentarian
• Formal adoption of "Proposal for a Faculty Senate at Rice University" passed by the faculty in plenary session, 2 and 28 February 2005
• Election of Deputy Speaker
• Election of Executive Committee
• Appointments to vacant positions
i. Non-Tenure Track – Research Faculty
ii. Assistant Professor Rank – Professional Schools
iii. Any Rank –Natural Sciences
• Appointment of Convener of Appeals and Grievances
• Appointment of six faculty representatives to University Council, "including both tenured and untenured members of the faculty and members of various schools of the University."
• Appointment of by-laws committee
i. Staggering of terms
ii. Senate goals for 2005-2006
iii. Senate scheduling
II. Pending Business
• Establishment of a budget
• Ratification of secretaries: Sarah Holloman for Executive Committee meetings and Janis Cain for Senate meetings
• Establishment of three-year staggered terms of office for elected Senators
III. On-going business
Attendance: Approximately 35
Faculty Council Speaker Lynne Huffer called to order the first Faculty Senate meeting in the Founder's Room of Lovett Hall at 10:00 a.m. She gave brief remarks regarding the change in Rice's faculty governance system.
Senate members were provided handouts as follows: 1) list of members; 2) meeting agenda; 3) Faculty Council's Proposals for Governance Reform at Rice University , the governing document of Faculty Senate, 4) newly adopted by-laws of University Council; and 5) list of recommendations by Faculty Council to be addressed by the new Faculty Senate. Copies of these handouts are attached to the file copy of these minutes.
A. Adoption of rules of order: Robert's Rules of Order - Huffer suggested, as Speaker of Faculty Council, that Faculty Senate adopt Robert's Rules of Order as rules for proceedings, and there being no objection, it was so decided.
Provost Gene Levy asked about continuity of the current standing committees, inquiring if they are construed as committees of the faculty or the Senate. Huffer replied that the standing committees are separate from the Faculty Senate, as they were separate from Faculty Council. The standing committee's membership, she noted, consists of appointments made by the President. She added that Faculty Council's Committee on Committees made recommendations to the President for membership on the standing committees for this year, that they found considerable problems in the current system, and that the Senate might wish to address, in conjunction with the President' Office, revision of the current standing committee structure.
Approval of presidential appointments to the Senate - Two presidential appointees to Faculty Senate, Rebekah Drezek (Engineering), and Anthony Pinn (Humanities), were APPROVED by the Senate.
Election of Speaker of Senate - Marj Corcoran was nominated for Speaker of Faculty Senate. With no further discussion, nominations were closed. After a vote, Marj Corcoran, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was elected as the first speaker of the Faculty Senate.
New Speaker Marj Corcoran chaired the remainder of the meeting with the first item of business being ratification of the use ofRobert's Rules of Order.
B. Appointment of Parliamentarian - Corcoran confirmed that the Parliamentarian need not be a member of the Senate. Bob Patten added that Alan Chapman, current faculty Parliamentarian, did not wish to serve. After some discussion, the appointment of a parliamentarian was deferred, pending email exchange among Senate members for suggestions and recommendations of qualified candidates. It was noted that the parliamentarian does not have to be a member of the Senate.
C. Formal adoption of the "Proposal for a Faculty Senate at Rice University " that was passed by the faculty in plenary sessions, 2 and 28 February 2005 - After motion made and seconded, the proposal was formally adopted. Corcoran commented that the details and by-laws of the Faculty Senate would be worked out during the summer.
D. Election of Deputy Speaker - Corcoran opened the floor for nominations of Deputy Speaker. Deborah Harter (Associate Professor of French Studies) as well as David Schneider (Professor of Psychology) were nominated. Deborah Harter was elected.
E. Election of Executive Committee - Corcoran described this central working committee, consisting of eight members, including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Six additional members are needed. These must include at least one member from Engineering, one member from Social Sciences, and one member from either the Jones School , Shepherd School , or School of Architecture . Gautami Shah suggested that assignments to the Executive Committee wait until vacant Senate positions had been filled. Corcoran did not feel the vacant Senate positions would be filled until later in the summer.
President David Leebron voiced concern that the appointment of the Executive Committee be done very carefully in order both to insure committee balance and take into consideration Executive-Committee-member-participation on University Council. He recommended a procedure in which a particular group - a kind of nominating committee - would provide a slate of names rather than the Senate voting for a series of individual names. Randy Batsell asked what dimensions President Leebron had in mind for assessing balance. Leebron indicated that these would include gender and ethnic balance, adding that all members would have to have the trust of the larger group. Carol Quillen requested that there be discussion regarding the kind of representation needed for the Executive Committee, and discussion on what the Senate felt to be important aspects of good faculty governance. Quillen felt the appointment of the Executive Committee should be deferred to a later meeting when Senate members have a clearer sense of what kind of committee is needed. Corcoran added that deferring selection of the Executive Committee would allow the additional Senate members to be present.
It was suggested the most critical task was appointment of a By-Laws Committee. The By-Laws Committee could then study the issues raised by President Leebron. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker could canvas both the Faculty Senate and the general faculty to find candidates to fill the vacant positions on the Senate. Discussion ensued regarding the term of the Executive Committee, the effects of deferring selection of the Executive Committee, temporary procedures, summer schedules of Senate members, timing of the next Senate meeting, and communication via email. Levy proposed establishment of a By-Laws Committee, charging the By-Laws Committee to come back rapidly with a proposal to this group on constitution of committees.
President Leebron felt that ultimately the Senate would want a nominating committee and commented upon the complications in choosing the Executive Committee, which is elected for staggered two-year terms that must interface properly with the staggered terms of the Senate group as a whole. He added that such nominating seemed to be a proper function of the By-Laws Committee to some extent, since it must be done initially.
Quillen moved that a representative from each division, with the exceptions of Natural Sciences (Corcoran) and Humanities (Harter), be temporarily appointed to serve as point person for the faculty within that school during the summer. She also moved for appointment of a By-Laws Committee to be charged first with developing the procedure for nominating Senate members to the various significant positions and the various committees to operate within this body. A vote was taken and the motion as APPROVED.
Levy suggested that since this will be a relatively short-term interim procedure, that the Speaker, in consultation with individuals and groups, make the appointments of these representatives on a temporary basis. Corcoran agreed to handle the appointment of divisional representatives. Benjamin Kamins, the only Senate member from the Shepherd School of Music, provided his name as representative for his division. Duane Windsor volunteered to serve as divisional representative for the Jones Graduate School of Management.
F. Appointments to vacant positions - Corcoran described the vacant positions as follows: 1) any rank in Natural Sciences, 2) assistant professor for professional schools, and 3) non tenure-track research faculty. Levy suggested these appointments should be handled in the same manner as the appointments of committees. He proposed to charge the By-Laws Committee to bring forward a constitution section of the by-laws for the filling of vacant positions.
Tom Killian moved that the vacant positions not be filled now, but rather, as with the Executive Committee, the By-Laws Committee be charged to quickly come back with a process for filling these vacant positions. After a vote, the motion was APPROVED. The appointments to vacant positions were deferred, and the By-Laws Committee charged with development of a procedure for filling vacant positions.
G. Appointment of Convener of Appeals and Grievances
Corcoran led discussion about the role and responsibilities of the Convener and the Appeals and Grievances Committee. She confirmed that the convener must be a member of the Senate, perhaps someone with experience in this area. She asked if anyone was willing to serve as the Convener of Appeals and Grievances.
Joe Warren, currently serving as the Convener of the Faculty Appeals Board, volunteered to take on the role of interim Convener of Appeals and Grievances. He suggested, as a temporary policy, to solicit two or three additional members of the Faculty Senate to serve on cases that might develop, until the By-Laws Committee has a chance to consider the committee process fully.
Batsell highlighted the need to consider the timing of the academic year and suggested that an appeal or grievance brought by June 30, 2005, would fall to the current Faculty Council convener and that an appeal or grievance brought on July 1, or after, would come to the newly named convener. Corcoran reiterated that from now until July 1, the old procedure would remain in place, with Don Morrison serving as convener. On July 1, 2005, Joe Warren, Computer Science, will serve as interim convener for any issues that develop during the summer. Meanwhile, the By-Laws Committee will be considering this issue. Huffer said she would contact Don Morrison and verify that he is able and willing to serve through June 30, 2005.
H. Appointment of six faculty representatives to University Council, "including both tenured and untenured members of the faculty and members of various schools of the University." - Corcoran deferred appointment of representatives to University Council until later in the summer or early fall.
I. Appointment of By-Laws Committee - Corcoran spoke of the need for someone with knowledge and experience in this area to chair of the By-Laws Committee, and noted one possibility in Randy Stevenson, Senate member from Political Science. After some discussion, Stevenson accepted the appointment of chair of the By-Laws Committee. Due to the work load involved, Stevenson felt the committee should be composed of approximately six people. He wanted to ensure the committee be made up of Senate members representative of the group and with significant experience at Rice. Additionally, these committee members needed to be available during the summer for meetings. There was discussion of the committee's work (it was suggested that it be divided into processes), and also of approval methods, summer schedules of faculty, time frame, and meeting needs. Stevenson suggested asking for volunteers, given the various constraints of summer schedules. The following volunteered and were asked to serve: Jim Young (Electrical and Computer Engineering); Nancy Niedzielski (Linguistics); Gautami Shah (Center for the Study of Languages); Duane Windsor ( Jones Graduate School ), and David Schneider (Psychology). Speaker Corcoran (Physics and Astronomy) and Deputy Speaker Harter (French Studies) will also participate.
2. Pending business - Bob Patten reviewed the items of pending business: A) establishment of a budget with Kathy Collins; B) ratification of Sarah Holloman as secretary for Executive Committee meetings and Janis Cain as secretary for Senate meetings; C) establishment of three-year staggered terms of office for elected Senators.